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Archive for Thursday, January 4, 2007

Father gets life for infant murder

January 4, 2007

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A Lawrence man convicted in November of killing his infant daughter was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday by a Douglas County District Court judge.

Jay D. Decker, 27, paused for several seconds while rubbing his cheek before declining to make a statement, an opportunity that was offered by Judge Paula Martin before she passed sentence.

In November, a jury found Decker guilty of first-degree murder. Evidence presented in a trial showed that 5-month-old Risha Lafferty died Oct. 14, 2005, from a skull fracture and there were signs of being shaken.

Decker will be eligible for parole after he has served 20 years in prison. He will be given credit for more than 400 days that he has already spent in the Douglas County Jail since his arrest.

Lafferty had more than 30 bruises on her body when she was found dead. A cutout piece of drywall showing a circular dent was among the evidence presented in the trial. Decker had said the girl was in a series of accidents in the days before she died.

Lafferty's mother, Brandi Mae Hendrickson, also is in jail for failing to protect her daughter from abuse. In December, Martin ordered Hendrickson to spend 60 days in jail. She will then be released on parole. During her stay in jail she will be released for work and to attend parenting classes to try to regain custody of an older, preschool-aged daughter.

Jay Decker, Lawrence, right, with his attorney Tom Bartee, was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday in Douglas County court for killing his 5-month-old daughter, Risha Lafferty. Decker will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years.

Jay Decker, Lawrence, right, with his attorney Tom Bartee, was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday in Douglas County court for killing his 5-month-old daughter, Risha Lafferty. Decker will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years.

Hendrickson was initially charged with felony child endangerment but ended up pleading to a misdemeanor as part of a deal to testify against Decker.

Emotions had been high during past court hearings, and a total of eight sheriff's deputies were in the courtroom providing security during the sentencing.

The case was an ordeal for all involved, from relatives of the victim and suspects to prosecutors, investigators and court officials, Assistant District Attorney Brandon Jones said.

"Being a father, too, and seeing the autopsy photos of the little 5-month-old girl who was completely innocent and had no one to protect her in this world except her mom and dad, and to see that the dad was the one who actually did these things to her," Jones said, "it really affects not only me but also the court and everyone involved. It is really a hard case to do."

Comments

rubix 8 years ago

This guy doesn't deserve the luxury of sitting and rotting in prison. Murder in general is a horrible thing, let alone that of an infant or child. I guess the only positive thing is this guy won't have the chance to repeat these actions with any other child. Hopefully he gets his parole declined in 20 years.

crispysyn 8 years ago

If you are sentenced to life in prison, you should not waste taxpayers money. Especially on a crime like this. You should get a one way ticket to the death penelty. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. IMO, they need to bring back the electric chair! And this getting credit for time he as already served crap is rediculous. Another question I have been wondering for the longest time concerning the death penelty.. Why do they sterilize the needle used in a lethal injection?

rollcar 8 years ago

Agreed. Not to mention, at 27, this guy could potentially still father more children when he is paroled in 20 (actually 19) years. Don't give him the chance.

rubix 8 years ago

Good question...why not use a rusty WWI needle and use large doses of Drano...much more painful and drawn out.

sublime 8 years ago

Is it just me ,or does this guy look really punchable?(Enlarge the above photo before answering)I would really enjoy smashing this guys face.

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